It’s not every day the head coach of a team calls a win “disappointing.”
But after an analysis of her team’s 96-76 win over Washington & Lee Thursday night, Randolph-Macon women’s basketball coach Carroll LaHaye was blunt, but fair, in her assessment.
“We played a very boring game tonight,” LaHaye said, noting the team’s lack of energy and the lack of energy in the atmosphere in Crenshaw Gymnasium.
But LaHaye was quick to point out the fans weren’t at fault.
“We as a team need to give the fans something to get excited about,” LaHaye noted.
Despite the margin of victory, the mid-season win was produced by a team that looked to be in early-season form.
But the Jackets’ offense was able to overcome both 35 percent shooting from the field in the second half, and a tenacious, gritty Generals squad, limited to just seven players after an early-game injury to guard Darby Lundquist. Washington & Lee, who came to Ashland just 1-5 in the ODAC and 3-10 overall, proved to be a much tougher challenge than expected.
“They were very physical, and we started out slow,” said leading scorer Katie Anderson, who tallied 26 points and 11 rebounds for another double-double, her eighth of the year. The Jackets overcame the slow start with hot shooting, 54.3 percent from the field, 10-of-13 at the line, but only found themselves up seven at halftime at 50-43.
The second half was much like the first, Randolph-Macon ahead much of play by nine to 15 points, but the game never felt like one where the Jackets were in as much control as the scoreboard suggested. Missing point guard Khajae Hester to injury, the Jackets never seemed to find the rotation that provided the runaway spark seen by them many times in earlier season performances.
Lauren Vugteveen had a strong performance, adding 17 points, many down low, while Lindsey Sharman added 15 and Sarah Parsons 12. Taylor Huber was ice cold, shooting 2-of-15 from the floor, scoring six of her 10 points from the free throw line.
LaHaye and the players all knew leaving Crenshaw Thursday that they had little time to find the missing ingredients before boarding a bus to Roanoke, where the revenge-minded Maroons of Roanoke College would be awaiting them.
Hester returned to the court Saturday and the Jackets did find some of their spark in their season-sweep victory at Roanoke, 110-93. The Maroons, 24-point losers to the Jackets Nov. 23 in Ashland, went basket-for-basket in a high-scoring first half, taking a 57-54 edge to intermission.
But simple adjustments in Randolph-Macon’s shooting defense, coupled with continued fine shooting by the Jackets on the offensive end, helped R-MC pull away in the second half for the 19-point win. As cold as Huber was Thursday, she lit up the Star City, pouring in 31 points to lead Randolph-Macon, while Sarah Parsons added 22 and Katie Anderson went for 19.
Randolph-Macon finished the week 6-2 in ODAC play, 13-4 overall, tied for third, and opportunity right in front of them.
That opportunity, back-to-back games against league co-leaders Eastern Mennonite and Lynchburg, began Tuesday in Harrisonburg with a poor Jackets shooting performance, falling behind early and never threatening as the Royals defeated Randolph-Macon 82-63. It was the Jackets’ lowest point total of the season, as they shot 36 percent from the field.
The Royals shot 50 percent in the first half en route to a 44-30 intermission advantage. Huber, despite shooting 5-of-22 from the field, led Randolph-Macon (6-3, 13-5) with 14 points. Freshman Stephanie Staples (Atlee) had 12 points off the bench. The Jackets try to get back on track at Back To The Hive 2014 Saturday against the Hornets at 2 p.m.